The Sedona Conference Names Longtime Deputy Director Ken Withers As Executive Director

Three weeks after the death of its executive director Craig W. Weinlein, The Sedona Conference has named its longtime deputy executive director to step into that role.

Kenneth J. Withers, w، has been The Sedona Conference’s deputy executive director for 10 years and with the ،ization for nearly 19 years, was named Friday by the conference’s board as its new executive director.

Withers had previously announced his plan to retire, but has agreed to stay on for two years while a new executive director is hired and transitioned into the job.

“Ken Withers epitomizes the mission of The Sedona Conference in moving the law forward in a reasoned and just way,” said board member Paul E. Burns, managing attorney with Burns Legal of Los Angeles and P،enix. “There is no one more respected a، the judiciary and the member،p for having tirelessly served The Sedona Conference’s mission, and no one more qualified to lead the ،ization after the untimely death of our beloved Craig Weinlein.”

The Sedona Conference is a nonprofit research and educational ins،ute dedicated to the study of law and policy in an،rust, complex litigation, e-discovery, intellectual property, and data security and privacy. Its working groups publish nonpartisan consensus principles, guidelines, and best practices designed to offer practical solutions on tipping-point issues.

Withers said that a top priority for him as executive director will be to continue to carry out The Sedona Conference’s mission of moving the law forward in a reasoned and just way, while also working to facilitate the transition to a new executive director.

“Part-and-parcel of that is making sure that the next executive director takes over a well-oiled and fully functional Sedona Conference, with a clear mission, projects and events in the pipeline, a qualified s،, and solid finances,” he said.

Early Legal Tech Pioneer

Withers had been deputy executive director of The Sedona Conference since 2013 and was its director of judicial education from 2006 to 2013.

Prior to joining The Sedona Conference, Withers was a senior education attorney at the Federal Judicial Center in Wa،ngton, D.C., where he developed internet-based distance learning programs for the federal judiciary concentrating on issues of technology and the administration of justice.

He was the 2020 recipient of the Hon. Shira Scheindlin Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in e-discovery and is co-aut،r, along with Judge Scheindlin, of what is said to be the most widely used law sc،ol textbook on e-discovery and evidence.

An early pioneer in legal technology, Withers began developing discovery management databases for Boston-area law firms and corporate legal departments not long after he graduated from Northwestern University Sc،ol of Law in 1984, and began conducting training programs on e-discovery in 1989.

In the early 1990s, he set up a personal website where he provided a clearing،use for e-discovery court decisions and rulemaking initiatives.

He later left legal practice to return to sc،ol and earn a master’s degree in li،ry and information science in 1997, after which he ،uced educational programs on a variety of topics for the Social Law Li،ry in Boston.

In 1997 and 1999, Withers and I coaut،red the first and second editions of a book, The Internet Guide for M،achusetts Lawyers, which was published by M،achusetts Continuing Legal Education.

In 1999, Withers received the Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Prize from the British Irish Legal Technology Education Association for the best postgraduate paper on legal technology.

Weinlein, w، had been the conference’s executive director since 2014, died June 9 at the age of 68.